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CFOAM: From West Virginia Coal Mines to Outer Space


West Virginia is known for its deep roots when it comes to the coal mining industry. Most people associate coal with creating heat and electricity. Have you ever considered coal in outer space?

This company is changing coal into carbon foam to create useful tools for industries like aerospace. CFOAM’s carbon foam has evolved into a highly desirable alternative to conventional materials in markets such as thermal insulation, fire proofing and composite tooling, due to its excellent mechanical and thermal properties.

Small but mighty workforce

CFOAM has just 14 employees in their Triadelphia location, and the location is central to one of the largest coal deposits in the world, which is a main reason the company continues to say #YesWV.

The company works with large aerospace companies like Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Lockheed Martin to assist in the creation of tools because the product they make is a very refractory material and easy to maneuver.

“You would think it’s a stretch to take coal and put it on a spaceship or a rocket, but that’s the next frontier and coal is playing a role in that”, says General Manager & CTO Rudolph Olson III, CFOAM. “There is no better place to provide the world with innovative, new, carbon based materials made from coal than West Virginia.”

Turning coal into an advanced, carbon material that can function in a lot of different ways can actually have a positive impact on the environment. 

West Virginia provides supportive business environment

CFOAM has had success in the state because of assistance from the Department of Economic Development (WVDED) and the friendliness of the state. From training support, business development and help with regulatory requirements, business assistance from the WVDED is unmatched. 

“The Department of Economic Development has a great working relationship with CFOAM and we are happy that we can help them succeed,” said Executive Director Mike Graney, WVDED. “We are lucky to have next generation companies like CFOAM in our state, using our local resources for good, and are happy they continuously say ‘Yes, West Virginia’.”

Thriving Industries

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